VGCCC charges ALH over failure to use safer gambling feature in slots

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has made 62 charges.
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has made 62 charges.

Australia’s largest pokie operator could face a fine of up to AU$1.35m.

Australia.- The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has announced that Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH), the country’s largest slot machine operator, will face 62 charges. The regulator said ALH had operated gaming machines that didn’t have the mandatory pre-commitment technology YourPlay installed.

In Victoria, all electronic gaming machines must have an interactive YourPlay display. The system gives players the ability to set time and spending limits to help them stay in control of their play. The VGCCC claims ALH operated 220 gaming machines for up to 5 weeks without the system enabled.

The irregularities came to light in December 2021 when VGCCC inspectors visited venues in Hallam, Sandringham, Narre Warren, Mulgrave, Laverton and Cheltenham after an anonymous tip off. Following the VGCCC inspection, the company turned off 220 non-compliant devices at 62 of its 77 venues.

ALH and the company’s ALH board were charged with failing to ensure mandatory player equipment was installed under the Gambling Regulation Act 2003. The 62 charges could result in a maximum fine of approximately AU$1.35m.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said: “We have decided to prosecute ALH as the alleged breaches constituted serious and significant non-compliance across 80 per cent of all ALH’s Victorian venues.

“Anyone who holds a gambling licence in Victoria is on notice that they must, at a minimum, comply with their legal obligations to protect patrons from gambling harm. Having YourPlay installed and available on electronic gaming machines is a mandatory requirement to support safer gambling.”

VGCCC fines Crown Melbourne US$77.2m for serious misconduct

As previously reported by Focus Gaming News, the VGCCC has imposed two fines against Crown Melbourne totalling AU$120m (US$77.2m) for failing its Responsible Service of Gambling obligations.

The Royal Commission into the casino operator and Licence found that Crown Melbourne:

  • breached its code of conduct for the Responsible Service of Gambling over many years by consistently failing to intervene to prevent gambling harm allowing customers to often gamble for long periods without a break, sometimes for more than 24 hours, and
  • failed to comply with a statutory direction by the regulator to take all reasonable steps to prevent patrons from using plastic picks and other devices to simulate ‘automatic play’ when gambling on specific electronic gaming machines (or ‘pokies’).

VGCCC chair Fran Thorn said: “For a long time, Crown failed in its legal and moral obligation to ensure it provided its gambling products and services in a manner which minimised potential harm to its patrons, their families, friends and communities.”

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ALH GAMBLING REGULATION VGCCC Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission